-> '''Refia:''' I am thankful to Father for taking care of an orphan like me for all these years, but...this is something I have to do. \\
'''Luneth:''' Wait...you're an orphan, too? \\
'''Refia:''' "Too"? You mean-- \\
'''Arc:''' I'm one, too! \\
'''Ingus:''' Wait a minute... I, too, have no parents...
-->-- ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIII DS''

All people come with a past, a family, friends, a heritage, and more. Every person has roots!

This past can become a large burden on the character: [[ThickerThanWater They need an excuse to leave their family behind, or need to constantly visit their parents and other family members in between adventures]]. Otherwise the hero can't believably be a ''social'', likable good guy.

Orphaned heroes, on the other hand, never have to deal with all that. They don't need an excuse to go on wild adventures or stay away for days on end, they don't have anyone waiting around for them to come home!

Conveniently, these heroes can answer the CallToAdventure because they don't have other responsibilities. This lack of older responsibilities is also exactly what allows the heroes to take on the new responsibilities that come from being hero.

Often used as character backgrounds in tabletop adventures: Such a character's background often consists of "My parents were killed by (insert AlwaysChaoticEvil race here), so I'm out for revenge". Aside from conveniently leaving no 'annoying' ties to the past to keep the character away from the CallToAdventure, it can also result in a YouKilledMyFather moment should the villain race (or the BigBad if he's responsible) appear.

Handily prevents the sadistic GameMaster from exploiting [[TheLoad 'weak links']] that can get [[DamselInDistress kidnapped]] or [[PlayerPunch killed off]]. If the fates of the missing parents are left nebulous, it also opens the door for that infamous twist where one of them turns out to be a villain. [[LukeIAmYourFather You know the one]].

Oddly enough, family outside of parents is never mentioned. Apparently [[WorldOfNoGrandparents no one ever has grandparents]] or cousins, although [[{{Nephewism}} having an uncle (and sometimes aunt) as surrogate parents]] is common. Siblings ([[OnlyChildSyndrome if they exist at all]]) seem to only show up for plot-based reasons -- and not PromotionToParent, which would give them responsibilities. One wonders how the world manages to get populated when every couple only has one child. Surrogate parents show up more regularly in the form of RaisedByNatives, they [[DeathByOriginStory tend to]] [[FriendlyTarget die a lot]] too.

The hero's orphaning is also a nice triggering point for the hero's journey. This part of the Hero's backstory is often covered in a FlashBack. If the orphaning happens at the very beginning of the story, instead of in the background, it's usually covered by DoomedHometown.

If the character does have parents, but they have so little influence on their life that they behave as if they have no family responsibilities anyway, ''or it just isn't talked about period,'' it's ParentalAbandonment.

May lead to TellMeAboutMyFather.

Contrast with OrphansOrdeal, where the loss of parents ''is'' the plot (or at least a subplot), rather than simply enabling the plot.

If the parents happened to be GoodParents before their death, so much so that they continue to affect the main character even after they're dead, then you've got DeceasedParentsAreTheBest.

Not to be confused with SelfMadeOrphan.


[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Anime/CombattlerV'': Hyoma Aoi, the captain of Combattler team, lived in an orphanage after his parents' deaths. Seeing someone killing the parents of a child -or even an animal cub- is one of his {{Berserk Button}}s. His {{Love Interest|s}}, Chizuru Nanbara not only was an orphan girl but also her only grandfather died shortly after the beginning of the series.
* ''Anime/CuteyHoney'': Honey Kisaragi lost her father early on the series. His death triggered her war against the terrorist group named Panther Claw.
* ''Anime/{{Daimos}}'': Kazuya lost her parents before the start of the series. Erika's father died shortly before Kazuya's father, and THAT is what starts off the history.
* ''Anime/KotetsuJeeg'': Hiroshi's father dies in the first episode.
* ''Anime/MazingerZ'': Kouji and Shiro's parents died in a lab experiment gone wrong [[spoiler:or so they were told. In reality, only their mother died. Their father would die for real at the end of ''Anime/GreatMazinger'', though]]. Sayaka also lost her mother before the beginning of the series.
** ''Anime/GreatMazinger'': Both Tetsuya and Jun are orphan kids, taken in by [[spoiler:Prof. Kabuto.]] And the end of the series his adoptive father [[spoiler:would also die]].
** ''Anime/UFORoboGrendizer'': All relatives from Duke [[spoiler:and Maria]] got brutally murdered before the start of the series.
* ''Manga/BlackButler'': The loss of his parents trigger Ciel Phantomhive's motives and lead to the plot.
%%* In ''Manga/{{Kanon|ByChihoSaito}}'', triggers the whole plot.
%%* ''[[LightNovel/SorcererStabberOrphen Orphen]]''.
* Applies to most of the main characters in ''Manga/ChronoCrusade'':
** Rosette and Joshua's parents died in a ship wreck when they were young children, and after that they spent most of their life in an orphanage--until Joshua is taken by Aion (and the orphanage is [[DoomedHometown destroyed in the process]]), which causes Rosette to join the Order to try to find her brother again.
** Azmaria's parents either abandoned her because of her powers, or were killed during the war, depending on which version you're following.
** Satella's parents were killed by a demon when she was a child. Her sister was also kidnapped by the demon--leading her on a journey similar to Rosette's. However, since her parents' deaths ''are'' such a turning point for Satella in her backstory, she leans closer to OrphansOrdeal instead.
* In ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'', Ed and Al's mother is dead, and their [[ParentalAbandonment father left them at an early age]], leaving the two free to pursue their ambitions.
** Winry's parents were killed in the war when she was a little girl, and as a result she was raised by her grandmother.
* In ''LightNovel/{{Slayers}}'', Zelgadis and Gourry both have no parents (Zelgadis' great-grandfather [[AffablyEvil Rezo]] killed his, and Gourry's were killed during a [[BigScrewedUpFamily family feud]]), and Sylphiel, Filia, Pokota, Amelia, and [[spoiler:Naga]] only have one parent each (a father, actually); in Sylphiel's case, she falls under this trope when her father is KilledOffForReal in the third {{Light Novel|s}}/late first season of the anime in a [[ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill townwide explosion]]. Ironically, the main protagonist's (Lina) parents are both alive and well. And the status of the parents of Lina's later allies in the novels (Luke and Milina) is unknown.
* All over the freaking place in ''Franchise/{{Gundam}}''.
** [[Anime/MobileSuitZetaGundam Kamille Bidan]] starts off his story with both parents alive and well, but quickly loses them within a few episodes. His mother is loaded into a transparent capsule by the [[StateSEc Titans]] and chucked out into space in front of Kamille as bait so that Jerid will have a clear shot at him - except Jerid, having been falsely briefed that the capsule contains a bomb instead of a person, shoots the capsule instead of Kamille in an attempt to catch Kamille in the nonexistent bomb's explosion and wonders what the heck is going on when there's no explosion but there ''is'' one royally pissed Kamille screaming bloody murder at him. Kamille's father is also taken into custody by the Titans and told that he'll be let free if he infiltrates the Argama; unfortunately for him, his attempt to hijack a mobile suit and escape back to the Titans is [[SelfMadeOrphan cut short by Kamille]]. Aside from allowing him to work full-time for AEUG without having any relative the Titans can go after, his mother's death in particular [[ItsPersonal sets up]] the CycleOfRevenge between Kamille and Jerid that kills several other people down the line on both sides of the conflict, ending with Jerid himself.
** [[Anime/MobileSuitGundamUnicorn Banagher Links]] has been living on his own even since his mother took him and ran away from his father and died a few years later. He runs into his father after all those years, only for the man to [[spoiler:die right in front of him after biometrically locking the Unicorn to Banagher]], making him an orphan for real.
*** For that matter, Mineva is an orphan too, being the daughter of Dozle Zabi whom Amuro killed all the way back in the [[Anime/MobileSuitGundam original series]]. While her mother survived the war and made it to Axis, she fell ill and died a few years later; Mineva then got under the care of Haman, only for her to [[GiveHimANormalLife send the girl down to Earth]] and subsequently get killed by Judau at the end of ZZ.
** [[Anime/MobileSuitGundamSEED Kira Yamato]] seemingly has both parents alive and well, only to find out later on that [[spoiler:the woman who raised him as his mother is actually his aunt; both of his parents died when he was a baby, with at least his father being murdered by Blue Cosmos]]. By virtue of [[spoiler:being Kira's twin sister]], this applies to [[spoiler:Cagalli]] as well.
*** And in the Astray mangas, [[spoiler:Canard Pars]] joins them as third, being [[spoiler:one of Kira's failed prototype clones]].
** ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamSEEDDestiny'' begins with Shinn and his family fleeing from a mobile suit battle and Shinn going back to get his sister Mayu's phone when she drops it, conveniently putting him outside the blast radius when the others get blown to pieces by a stray shot ''and'' providing him with a TragicKeepsake. This event ends up defining his [[TheBerserker personality]] for the rest of the series.
** ''Every single Gundam Meister'' in ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam00'' is an orphan: Setsuna [[SelfMadeOrphan gunned his parents down]] to go play {{Child Soldier|s}}, Lockon got his blown up along with his sister in a terrorist bombing, Allelujah was picked up from somewhere by the HRL SuperSoldier research program and Tieria [[ArtificialHuman never had any in the first place]]. [[AllThereInTheManual Nor did the Trinities for that matter]]. Lichty is an orphan too, his parents having died in an accident that [[spoiler:required him to get [[WeCanRebuildHim extensive cybernetic reconstruction]]]].
*** Feldt's parents are revealed by supplemental materials to have been Gundam Meisters who died from GN particle poisoning caused by a drive malfunction in the Virtue's predecessor unit Plutone. She never found out about this but it may have contributed to her EmotionlessGirl phase in the first season.
** 80% of all characters in ''Anime/MobileFighterGGundam'' are orphans, major and minor characters, and a few of them have only one parent. The rest are undetermined. For many of them, this plays a role in why they became Gundam Fighters.
** In ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamIronBloodedOrphans'', most of the [[ChildSoldiers Tekkadan]] and [[SpacePirates Brewers]] members are orphaned children, they were considered expendable to a degree people called them "human debris" or "space rats". There is no in-universe explanation of how they were orphaned.
* Almost everyone in ''Manga/SaintSeiyaTheLostCanvas'', justified since it's set in the 18th century Europe.
* Hayate of ''Franchise/LyricalNanoha'', which allowed her to raise a family of [[RidiculouslyHumanRobots sentient alien programs]] on her own [[WiseBeyondTheirYears since the age of nine]] and, as mentioned in the [[ComicBookAdaptation supplementary comics]], move to Mid-childa before she even graduated from high school. Like most orphans, she does have an "[[HonoraryUncle uncle]]" who was a friend of her father's taking care of her, although it's only financially [[spoiler:and it turns out that he never knew her father, and believes that because she is an orphan, few will have to mourn her once she's sealed away with the Book of Darkness]].
* ''Manga/OnePiece'':
** Most of the Straw Hat crew are victims of this trope, often more than once. Both Nami and Franky, for example, were orphaned at a young age, but taken in and raised by a kind foster parent...only for them to die as well. But they've still got it better than Robin, who didn't just lose her parents, but HER ENTIRE HOME ISLAND, of which she is the only survivor. Most of the others seem to have absentee parents of one form or another; the only member whose mother and father are both seen is Usopp, a victim of both this trope AND ParentalAbandonment (his dad left to become a pirate, and his mom died shortly after).
** For a while, it seemed that Luffy was a victim of this trope as well, his lack of parentage explained with a throwaway remark that "that kid has no parents" in the first chapter. Years later, we learned that Luffy was actually raised by his grandfather, and that his dad, at least, is alive (he's just the most wanted man in the world, which can make it tough to raise a kid).
** [[spoiler:Momonosuke]] is also an orphan, his parents having been murdered by the[[spoiler: Beast Pirates on Kaido's]] orders when they took over [[spoiler: Wano Kingdom]].
* This trope played so straight in ''Manga/{{Toriko}}'' that ''almost no named character'' have living parents. Even Teppei (who at least very close to his grandfather) never said who his father is,despite there's only 3 person in the story who has his family trademark hair. And at least Jirou (Teppei granpa) and Midora are [[RaisedByWolves adopted by animal]] before Acacia found them.
* Simon of ''Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann'' lost his parents in an earthquake before the start of the series, so when his {{blood brother|s}} Kamina decides they're going to the surface, he doesn't have anything holding him back. In a twist, Gimmy and Darry are chosen to be exiled to the surface explicitly because they don't have family who will mourn their departure.
* Nearly all of the members of the ''[[Anime/ScienceNinjaTeamGatchaman Gatchaman]]'' team are orphans, except for Ryu [[spoiler: and Ken prior to his father's HeroicSacrifice]]. This is the main reason Ryu is usually left tending the Phoenix while the others get all of the action; he still has a family that would miss him if anything happened to him.
* Sousuke Sagara of ''Lightnovel/FullMetalPanic'' being rendered an orphan helps justify why he can keep risking his life with no regard for consequences. Although his mother dying for his sake and her dramatic LastWords telling him he must "live," "never give up," and "fight!" does have the other purpose of making him the CrazySurvivalist he is today, it mainly seems to serve as a plot device to allow the readers to realize he simply has no one waiting for him.
* At one point in ''Manga/{{Hellsing}}'', during the [[ActionFilmQuietDramaScene Quiet Drama Scene]], while discussing Seras' progress Alucard asks Walter how they covered up her death and how her family is taking it. When Walter replies that she has none and is an orphan, Alucard sardonically replies "Of ''course'' she is". However, since Seras was already an adult by the time she died, the circumstances and consequences of her parents' deaths turns out to be a major part of her character and the series veering into CrapsackWorld territory and running on BlackAndGrayMorality, it's a justified trope.
* Son Goku of ''Franchise/DragonBall''. Some time before the series began, he accidentally killed his adoptive grandfather after transforming into a giant were-ape. As for blood relatives, ''Anime/DragonBallZ'' reveals that his ''race'' was wiped out along with their home planet.
** For that matter, Raditz himself is an orphan, but unlike Son Goku, their father Bardock was alive by the time their planet was obliterated, yet he took little interest in the well being of his sons. Raditz himself failed to earn respect from any of his fellow Saiyan survivors. However a recent {{Retcon}} has their parents send Goku to Earth in order to ensure his survival.
** Vegeta himself is also an orphan who was in turn was adopted by the tyrant that killed his father and ended his race.
*** Most, if not all Z warriors have no parents whatsoever; Yamcha is introduced as a teenage desert thief with no parents or guardians mentioned; Krillin was raised by a monastic order on where he was bullied; Tien Shin-Han and Chaotzu seem to have been raised by Crane Hermit; Yajirobe was introduced as a teenage wanderer without mentioned family.
** The unnamed Namekian (the original Namekian survivor that later divided himself into Piccolo and Kami) is himself an orphan who is mentioned to be the son of an individual named Kattas. He spent a great deal of his youth waiting for his parents (or parent, for that matter) to no avail. After he becomes whole once again, he becomes disinterested in his past and even keeps a distance from the remaining survivors of his race.
* ''Manga/KimbaTheWhiteLion'': Played straight with [[LoveInterests Lyra]] who is able to play and go on adventures with Kimba, but the trope is {{deconstructed|Trope}} with Kimba due to his WellDoneSonGuy relationship he has with his father who [[DeathByOriginStory was killed off before Kimba was born.]]
* In ''Manga/PokemonAdventures'', Red is the only Dex Holder to have no family even alluded to, leaving him free to travel the world where ever and whenever he wants.
* ''Manga/GunslingerGirl'': Done plausibly as the Social Welfare Agency only selects girls for its secret killer cyborg program who don't have extended families who'll be concerned about them. As a victim of child sex trafficking, Triela's background is unknown even to the Agency. Henrietta's entire family was murdered and Angelica's parents are in prison. Petra's family are too poor to travel from Russian to see their daughter -- which is just as well as her appearance has been altered completely. It's eventually revealed that they were told she had died. As Rico is one of the few cyborgs who retains memories of her previous life, the occasional visit from her estranged parents is no doubt enough to reassure them that their IllGirl is receiving the best of care; the Agency would have no trouble getting Rico to play along.
* In ''Manga/{{Berserk}}'', all of the main cast have ParentalAbandonment issues, but Griffith is the only one who has absolutely no mention of any sort of guardianship in his early life, making it quite convenient for him to up and decide that he was going to become a king someday and to get there, he needed to start a ragtag bunch of misfit mercenaries.
* In ''Franchise/SailorMoon'', both Mamoru's and Makoto's parents are dead, long before the start of the series. In the [[Manga/SailorMoon manga]] it's used to handwave why they live alone, but in the [[Anime/SailorMoon anime]] any mention is quickly swept under the rug.
* ''Manga/FruitsBasket'''s Tohru Honda wouldn't have been living in a tent for the Sohma boys to discover if her mother hadn't died.
* ''Manga/HappyLesson'': Chitose's orphan-ness serves as the paper-thin justification of the ExcusePlot, namely, that five of his teachers think he needs a mother in his life and all move in with him; HilarityEnsues.
* ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'':
** Having a dead mother is practically a prerequisite to pilot the titular Evangelions (and for good reason: [[spoiler: the souls of each pilot's mother has been incorporated into the machine as to weaponize their [[MamaBear maternal instincts]]]])
** Of the rest of the NERV staff, Misato lost her father, Ritsuko her mother, and Kaji (at least in the manga) grew up in an orphanage/refugee camp.
** Given that the Second Impact killed ''two thirds'' of the world's population, non-orphaned people are probably the exception rather than the rule.

[[folder: Comic Books]]
* [[UsefulNotes/TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks Golden Age]] and [[UsefulNotes/TheSilverAgeOfComicBooks Silver Age]] Franchise/{{Superman}} is orphaned by both his biological ''and'' adoptive parents. Other versions have Martha and sometimes Jonathan alive as well. Superman's [[KidSidekick Teen Sidekick]] ComicBook/JimmyOlsen is also sometimes written as parentless.
%%* ComicBook/IronMan
* Franchise/{{Batman}}, continued with the first two Robins. For years Tim Drake was unusual among the Batclan in having a living parent, but eventually the temptations of orphanhood overcame the writers.
* Franchise/SpiderMan. He has his beloved aunt, and his uncle [[DeathByOriginStory lived long enough]] to [[AesopCollateralDamage say the thing that has shaped most of Spidey's career]]. Also more than a few members of the supporting cast have lost one (Mary Jane, Harry Osborn, John Jameson) or both (Betty Brant, Gwen Stacy) parents.
* The debut issue of ''[[Comicbook/IncredibleHulk The Incredible Hulk]]'' makes it clear up front that Rick Jones (Bruce Banner's newly-acquired teenaged sidekick) is an orphan. Much later, we learn that Bruce is also an orphan. Bruce's mother was killed by his father when he was a child, and Bruce (accidentally?) killed his father shortly before the explosion that made him the Hulk.
* Several mutant characters from Marvel's X-Books are orphans; sometimes by abandonment, sometimes by death, by murder, or by parents becoming a demon bear...
** [[DoubleTake Wait]], ''what'' was that last one?! [[spoiler: Danielle Moonstar, known as the illusion-casting Mirage before ComicBook/HouseOfM, lost her parents to the 'demon bear' and knew it would come for her. After the big confrontation with it, it turns out that they ''were'' the bear and she was able to free them. No, they haven't been properly killed off since... yet. This makes her one of exceedingly few X-characters to have both parents, despite having a standard-issue dead parent origin when we met her!]]
* Orphans were extremely common in Golden and Silver Age Creator/MarvelComics, in addition to those already mentioned for example ComicBook/SubMariner, ComicBook/CaptainAmerica, ComicBook/{{Bucky|Barnes}}, the ComicBook/FantasticFour (Reed Richards' father reappeared in the 1980s, though), Alicia Masters, ComicBook/{{Daredevil}} (although Creator/FrankMiller would eventually change that, revealing that his mother had actually become a nun), ComicBook/IronMan, ComicBook/AntMan and ComicBook/TheWasp, ComicBook/BlackWidow, Professor X, and ComicBook/{{Cyclops}}. Angel became one before long.
* [[Franchise/GreenLantern Hal Jordan and John Stewart's]] parents are all dead.
%%* Mace and Whip of ''Webcomic/{{Dreamkeepers}}''.
* The Plutonian of ''Comicbook/{{Irredeemable}}'' is yet another convenient superhero orphan. The series actually deconstructs this Trope, examining the effect it can really have on a little boy with super-powers. The Plutonian was also abandoned by his subsequent foster parents, after he accidentally crippled their biological son. They even devoted themselves to ''never speak again'' just so he wouldn't pick up their voices by superhearing.
* ComicBook/TomStrong. Orphaned at around age 8, after being raised in a gravity chamber by his parents.
* Franchise/{{Tintin}}. Most members of his recurring supporting cast come without familial attachments.
** One reason Hergé abandoned JoZetteEtJocko - suggested by his editor who wanted a series about a regular family - was that it became difficult to come up with stories where the two main character always had to be separated from their parents in time for their adventures.
* Subverted twice in ''ComicBook/XStatix'':
** Mr. Sensitive, who once called himself The Orphan, spent years thinking that his parents had died in a fire when he was a baby. He later discovered that not only were they alive, they were also bigots who'd deliberately staged the fire to kill him.
** For many years, Venus Dee Milo believed that she'd accidentally killed her entire family when her powers first manifested. It later turned out that she'd merely teleported them to a surprisingly hospitable pocket dimension, where they were all still alive.
* ''ComicBook/{{Shazam}}'': In every continuity, Billy, Mary, and Freddy are orphans. Sometimes, they have foster parents; other times, they'll live on their own, and Billy will use his Captain Marvel form to pose as their guardian.

[[folder:Fairy Tales]]
* In ''Literature/TheJezinkas'', Johnny is an orphan and so looking for work.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* Firefly, one of the main heroines of ''Fanfic/AceCombatEquestriaChronicles'', lost her parents as a filly ([[spoiler: they were killed by Black Star]]).
* ''Fanfic/ACrownOfStars'': As Shinji nicely and concisely put during a conversation with Asuka, their mothers died and both of their parents practically dumped them by the side of the road before they were four. Later they found out they were chosen to become pilots for that reason, but that knowledge came too late to help them to survive the war and save the humanity.
* ''Fanfic/AdviceAndTrust'': Shinji and Asuka are both orphans. And Rei. And Hikari [[spoiler:who also becomes a pilot.]] And all of their classmates. Eventually Shinji and Asuka start to suspect it is indeed very ''convenient'' all pilots are orphans whose surviving parental figure works for NERV. When [[spoiler:they compare notes on their mothers' deaths]] and after [[spoiler:Hikari tells them she felt her mother inside her robot]] they realize what has happened to their mothers and NERV is behind their deaths.
* Subverted by Cream in ''Blog/AlwaysHavingJuice'', Cream was an orphan before being adopted by Vector.
* ''Fanfic/TheChildOfLove'': When he was four Shinji lost his mother, and his father abandoned him shortly after. During a conversation with Misato he learns Asuka went through the same thing than him (but her ordeal was harsher). At the end of the story he also learns they are mecha pilots because they are orphans [[spoiler:since their mothers are inside their robots]].
* ''Fanfic/ChildrenOfAnElderGod'': Shinji, Asuka, Rei, [[spoiler:Touji and Hikari]] are motherless. They are also giant robot pilots and fight cosmic horrors.
* ''Fanfic/DoingItRightThisTime'': In the original timeline Shinji and Asuka spent a long time mourning their deceased mothers as they fought space aliens. Ironically they -and Rei- now know that their mothers were always with them.
* ''Manga/{{Evangelion 303}}'': [[TheHero Shinji]]’s mother died when he was a little kid.
* Subverted in the Mass Effect fic series ''{{Fanfic/Uplifted}}''. Joachim Hoch's mother is alive, but he was adopted by Gerald Langer after he ran away and hasn't seen her in years. Even after she is [[spoiler: killed in an Allied bombing raid]], Hoch's roots are still an important plot point.
* ''Fanfic/{{HERZ}}'': All pilots are orphaned children. As they discovered after the battle against SEELE in 2015, it was NOT a coincidence.
* ''Fanfic/HigherLearning'': All Eva pilots (Shinji, Asuka, Rei and [[spoiler:Touji]]) lost their mothers a while before becoming pilots. [[spoiler:Kaoru's]] parents also died a while before the beginning of the story.
* ''Fanfic/LastChildOfKrypton'': Shinji's genetic donor [[spoiler:''[[Franchise/{{Superman}} Jor-El or Kal-El]]'' depending on what version of the story you are reading]] sent a sample of Kryptonian DNA to Earth before dying. Yui Ikari used it to modificate her unborn baby and several years later she died. Gendo abandoned Shinji after her death, entrusting him to the care of an uncle of his. When Shinji discovered his powers and started to use them to help other people, nobody found out, and he kept his secret for years.
* ''Fanfic/OnceMoreWithFeeling'': Has Shinji telling Asuka about his mother's death, Asuka finds the similarities with own background suspicious (and with good reason).
* ''Fanfic/TheOneILoveIs'': As per canon, all Evangelion pilots [[spoiler:but Kaoru]] are orphans.
* ''Fanfic/SOE2LoneHeirOfKrypton'': Asuka was conceived by donor sperm. Her husband's mother hated her for it, and when Kyoko died, he remarried and abandoned Asuka, who devoted her life to pilot mechas to try to overcome her abandonment issues. She never knew who her biological father was but she always assumed he was someone extraordinary. Ten years later when she starts to manifest strange, formidable powers she realizes she was very, very right, and her father was ''[[Franchise/{{Superman}} an alien of planet Krypton]]''. So she became ''Comicbook/{{Supergirl}}'' to try to become the hero her deceased biological father was destined to be.
* In ''FanFic/AFarGreenCountry'', both main characters are orphans!
** Elden's mother [[DeathByChildbirth died by giving birth]] to Elden, and Elden's father died in one of King Éomer's wars.
** Nellas was still a child when orcs killed her parents.
* In ''Fanfic/Gensokyo20XX'' series, we have Maribel and Renko; apparently, the fates of both of their parents are unknown but it can be assumed they died and they don't seem to remember them, as noted in 20XXIV and 20XXV. However, the fact that both were well fed and healthy when Yukari finds them means someone had to have taken care of them and we don't even know what happens to that person, though the two did state they weren't far from a food source, having survived on scraps.
* In ''Fanfic/ThousandShinji'', Shinji, Asuka and Rei status as orphans results in no one noticing them being corrupted by ''[[TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} dark gods]]''.
* ''Fanfic/TheSecondTry'': Shinji, Asuka and Touji's mothers died several years before the beginning of the story. Rei has no mother because she's a clone. All of them are HumongousMecha pilots.
* In ''Fanfic/NeonGenesisEvangelionGenocide'', [[OriginalCharacter Keiko]], in keeping with all pilot candidates, is also an orphan.

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* Every [[Franchise/DisneyAnimatedCanon animated Disney movie]].
** Averted with ''Disney/SleepingBeauty'' where Aurora became the first heroine to have both parents alive and well. But she is still separated from them for sixteen years.
** ''Disney/PeterPan'' also averts this. The Darling children, Wendy, John, and Michael's parents are well and alive and seen in both the beginning and ending of the movie.
** ''Disney/OneHundredAndOneDalmatians'' is perhaps the strongest aversion, as not only are the Dalmatians' parents Pongo and Perdita well and alive throughout the film, but their owners Roger and Anita are as well.
** ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}''. The [[Literature/{{Aladdin}} original folklore version]] had a dead father but a living mother; the Disney version has neither parent until we find out in [[Disney/AladdinAndTheKingOfThieves the third movie]] that his father only {{disappeared|Dad}}. According to WordOfGod, Aladdin was originally supposed to have a mom, who functioned as his conscience of sorts; however, it was decided that the [[AnAesop Aesop]] would be more meaningful [[BeYourself if he learned it on his own]].
** ''Disney/{{Mulan}}'' is another aversion and the titular heroine has her grandmother for added bonus. In fact, her plot is kicked off by her not wanting her father to die in war.
** A very rare type of aversion happens in ''Disney/TreasurePlanet'', where the father straight up leaves Jim and his mother.
** [[spoiler:Flynn Rider]] has this trope as part of his backstory in ''Disney/{{Tangled}}''. His motivation behind [[spoiler: being a thief]] is because of growing up poor. Averted with Rapunzel herself, who has a living adopted mother ([[spoiler:at least until the end]]) and two living biological parents.
** ''Disney/{{Frozen}}'' orphans both girls within the first ten minutes, thus allowing them a strained relationship with only each other. This serves as a major plot point, exacerbating the loneliness of the leads.
** ''Disney/{{Big Hero 6}}'' had Hiro and Tadashi orphaned at a young age and raised by their Aunt Cass, but then Tadashi is also killed.
** ''Disney/{{Moana}}'' averts this, with Moana's mother and father being alive and well throughout the movie. It's [[spoiler:the grandmother]] who dies in the end of the first act, giving Moana the courage to start her journey away from the island.
* The two aliens of ''WesternAnimation/{{Megamind}}'' are both orphans in the extreme, given that their entire home planets have been destroyed. This allows them to experience two very different childhoods upon arriving on Earth.
* Red from ''WesternAnimation/TheAngryBirdsMovie''; as the beginning of the movie shows, his egg was left unattended in a lost and found room when he hatched.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* In ''Film/{{Idiocracy}}'', Joe is chosen for the freezing experiment partially because he is orphaned, so nobody would come ask questions if something went wrong with the experiment. [[spoiler: It does.]]
* Franchise/JamesBond is an orphan. Used as a (possible) plot point; he was chosen ''because'' he's an orphan, so family is not a factor upon training/traveling, nor will it be leverage should he be captured. The Creator/DanielCraig films suggest that [[SecretIntelligenceService MI6]] recruits orphans because they can exploit the particular brand of psychological scarring that results. It makes recruits more malleable to training and conditioning, since the bosses can frame themselves as a ParentalSubstitute -- the Creator/JudiDench version of M very explicitly does this with Bond.
* A great many of the main characters in ''Franchise/StarWars'' are orphans. Han Solo and Anakin Skywalker are both orphans. Both Luke and Leia are orphaned - twice. Luke probably wouldn't have joined Ben Kenobi in rescuing the princess if the Imperial Stormtroopers hadn't killed his uncle and aunt. Every Jedi raised during the Clone Wars era (and a long time before that as well), save Anakin and a few others, was taken from their parents when they were still an infant and brought to the Temple. First Order Stormtroopers such as Finn are similarly taken from their families, though more forcefully. Also Rey was abandoned by her family at a young age was left to fend for herself on Jakku.
* {{Discussed|Trope}} in ''Film/MoonriseKingdom''. Suzy, who's an avid reader of children's fantasy stories, says that all her favourite protagonists are orphans, and sometimes she wishes she were one too. Sam, who is himself an orphan and has lived a miserable live because of it, simply responds: "I love you, but you have no idea what you're talking about."
* ''Film/OperationDumboDrop'': Deconstructed with Linh. At first, being an orphan seems like the simple reason he gets to go on all sorts of exciting adventures with the team. Then it's revealed he he had to watch his father get shot in front of his eyes.
* In ''Film/ExMachina'', Caleb's parents died in a car accident when he was fifteen. [[spoiler:Which is one of the reasons why Nathan chose him for the experiment as he wouldn't have anyone looking for him. Caleb even brings it up during his final confrontation with Nathan.]]

* ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'': Frodo Baggins was orphaned at twelve, but was raised in his family's home by said extended family; when he turned 21 (adult-ish but not yet legally adult for hobbits) he was adopted by and went to live with his 'uncle' Bilbo (who conveniently leaves once Frodo is legally an adult). Bilbo himself is technically an orphan (his parents died of natural causes after he was fully grown), manages to avoid marriage, and thus has no family ties holding him back when he goes on his adventure.
* Molly Moon from the ''Literature/MollyMoon'' books, as well as most of her friends.
* Subverted in ''Literature/OrdinaryPeople'' (the novel more than the film, though it's mentioned in both). Calvin, the father, grew up in an orphanage in UsefulNotes/{{Detroit}}. While he lives a very stable life as a successful tax lawyer with a wife and children, he's haunted by his past and admits to feelings of rootlessness when he talks to his son's psychiatrist.
* In ''Literature/TheLegendsongSaga'', Glynn and Ember's parents died in a car crash a about a year ago. Despite being only 17, they live alone. They also have almost no other friends or connections, making it less complicated when they are stuck in Keltor (Ember was the only reason Glynn wanted to return to Earth; Ember doen't care about anything except her death and her music.)
* Subverted in ''Literature/FeliksNetAndNika'' with Nika. Her mum died at childbirth, her dad died when she was eleven and she's afraid of going to orphanage because she would lose everything and because Polish orphanages are terrible. While nothing holds her back, she must constantly pretend her father exists, she must work illegally (in Poland you can't work under the age of sixteen) to pay for her house and school and she has to hide all that from her classmates. The only situation when this is played straight is when characters need a safe hiding spot in alternative reality in which Nika is still an orphan.
* Literature/KinseyMillhone loves being an orphan (was raised by her aunt).
* This trope is zigzagged in Literature/HarryPotter. Harry of course is an orphan, raised by his aunt and uncle, but his parents' lives and deaths, particularly his mother's self-sacrifice, do serve the plot in important ways throughout the series. However Creator/JKRowling has admitted in interviews that she originally killed off Lily and James mainly so their presence wouldn't hamper Harry's adventures, and that the original drafts of the first book killed them off rather anticlimactically; it wasn't until [[CreatorBreakdown she lost her own mother that Harry's parents' sacrifices became an important plot point]].
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' features many of them.
** [[ThePoliticalOfficer Commissars]] are required to be orphans. As a consequence:
*** Creator/SandyMitchell's Literature/CiaphasCain. Amberly Vail notes that he gives out little information about his past, and that about his parents contradicts known facts.
*** Creator/DanAbnett's Ibram Gaunt of ''Literature/GauntsGhosts''. Down to a plot-significant OrphansPlotTrinket and TellMeAboutMyFather. Also Ludd, although this receives only brief mention, and Hark, though this gets no mention at all.
** Ragnor Blackmane, of William King's ''Literature/SpaceWolf'' novels, is orphaned in the opening of the first. A major motivation for him is desire for {{Revenge}} on a fellow Space Marine who had been part of the opposing force.
* You would not believe how many characters in the Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse are orphaned. [[Comicbook/XWingSeries Wedge Antilles]] lost both his parents when he was around twelve, Tycho Celchu was a pilot for the Empire whose entire family was on Alderaan, Corran Horn lost his mother to a speeder accident and his father to a criminal. Most of these characters are adults, and the loss of their parents spurred them to join the Rebellion. While her parents aren't dead, Mara Jade was taken from them at an early age and never looked back. ''The Essential Guide to Characters'' (first edition) says that Palpatine had her parents killed. There you go; Ben's never going to meet his grandparents now…
* The two assassin protagonists in ''Brotherhood of the Rose'', by David Morrell, initially meet in an orphanage from which they're recruited by CIA chief Elliot, who presents himself as a surrogate father figure. They later discover that Elliot (and other members of his worldwide conspiracy) have done the same thing with other orphans, in order to create a team of EliteMooks who'll obey their orders without question.
* In the ''Literature/CHERUBSeries'' books, every character as part of CHERUB is an orphan. Means they can be trained up as spies without parents wondering whats going on.
** Although in the later books the rules are changed slightly so the children of staff members can become [=CHERUBs=] as well, partly because it's hard to find conveniently orphaned/abandoned children that fit CHERUB's other recruitment criteria.
* ''Literature/ASeriesOfUnfortunateEvents'' has many orphans, including the three main characters and [[spoiler: Count Olaf, whose parents may have been killed by the Baudelaire parents]].
* [[http://writebadlywell.blogspot.com/2010/05/cast-childrens-stories-exclusively-with.html This How To Write Badly Well entry explains the concept.]]
* In ''Literature/TheBelgariad'', Garion's parents are killed by a servant of the enemy before the story starts.
* In ''Literature/TheRiftwarCycle'', Pug may or may not be an orphan by the start of the first book, though he definitely is by the last (From old age if nothing else). Later books state that his mother was a servant who left him at the nearby temple for adoption shortly after birthing him and his father was a traveler who never knew that he'd fathered a son. Since Pug never knowingly meets either of them, he is effectively an orphan even if his parents are technically alive.
* Number Ten Ox in ''Literature/BridgeOfBirds'' is an orphan, raised by an aunt and uncle.
* Rincewind from the Literature/{{Discworld}} novels has no idea who his parents are/were.
** His ''mother'' left before he was born.
*** Lampshaded/mentioned in Unseen Academicals when only people with a note from their mother are excused from playing football. Rincewind asks the Arch-Chancellor for permission to go ask his mother for such a note. "I thought you said you didn't have a mother." [beat] "Permission to go find her, Arch-Chancellor?"
** In ''Discworld/GoingPostal'', Moist von Lipwig lost his parents at an early age and was raised by his grandfather, who died some time before the actual start of the story. Having no family connections is, indeed, convenient for Moist, who makes his way in the world as a ConMan.
* Simon from ''Literature/MemorySorrowAndThorn'' is an orphan. Adopted and raised by the mistress of chambermaids, he has no family to pine for when evil comes and he is forced to flee his home. His orphaning [[MosesInTheBulrushes becomes a plot point later]].
* In the ''Literature/{{Replica}}'' series, Nancy Candler is an orphan with no living relatives, making it easy for her to pass off an adopted genetically altered clone as her biological daughter without anyone raising eyebrows.
* The title character in ''Literature/JamesAndTheGiantPeach'' was orphaned at a young age, and is being raised by his two evil aunts until they get squashed by the peach.
* Franchise/DocSavage lost his father in his very first adventure, The Man of Bronze, and his mother had died at some point prior to that. Which begs the question, if you're full grown when your parents die, are you still an orphan?
* In ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'', Yoren deliberately invokes this, telling [[spoiler: Arya]] to claim to be an orphan, since no one will give an orphan taking the Black a second glance.
* Per WordOfGod, virtually everyone in the web-novel ''Literature/{{Domina}}''. "If a character's parents aren't mentioned, it's safe to assume it's because they're dead." That's what happens when you live in a WretchedHive.
* Harry Dresden, from ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles''. His mother died shortly after he was born, and his father died when he was around 7. Then, later on, while living with Justin Du Morne he's orphaned again when [[spoiler: he kills Justin]].
** Later on, he discovers that he does still have surviving family, in the form of [[spoiler: his half-brother Thomas Raith]] and [[spoiler: his grandfather Ebenezer [=McCoy=]]].
* Literature/SisterhoodSeries by Creator/FernMichaels: Okay, Nikki Quinn's parents are dead. Kathryn Lucas's parents are dead. Isabelle Flanders's parents are dead (maybe). Yoko Akia's mother is dead and her father is evil. Abner Tookus's parents are dead (maybe). There's certainly a lot of orphan characters to go around!
* ''Literature/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy'': Ford Prefect is not only an orphan but the LastOfHisKind, which provides a convenient explanation for why his original alien name is forgotten.
* Subverted in ''Literature/TheWonderfulWizardOfOz''; Dorothy is stated to be an orphan, but lives with her foster parents in Kansas. She loves them enough that despite all the beauty of Oz and the friends she made, she is determined to go back anyway. It not clear whether Aunt Em and Uncle Henry are Dorothy's actual Uncle and Aunt, or are called such by way of being Dorothy's adoptive parents. Note that being an "orphan" simply means her parents were deceased, not that she was actually adopted from an orphanage.
* In Bryan Miranda's ''Literature/TheJourneyToAtlantis'', one of the characters is this. It is [[spoiler: Mickello, whose dad died in the plane crash that landed Mickello on the island, and whose mother apparently has no idea what the hell happened to him]].
* With his parents having died a few years ago, Daniel from ''Literature/TheLeonardRegime'' is able to go off and fight. It later turns out [[spoiler:his parents died after founding the same rebellion he is fighting for.]]
* Thomas Theisman from ''Literature/HonorHarrington'' was raised in an orphanage in the [[PeoplesRepublicOfTyranny People's Republic of Haven]], which quite conveniently means the government doesn't have any loved ones to hold over his head. Not so coincidentally, once he gets the chance, he [[spoiler:puts a brutal and awesome end to the Committee of Public Safety and resurrects the old Republic, elected President and all, that had lain in ashes for two centuries]]. He does ''not'', however, [[spoiler:become President, being quite content to stick to the military side as Secretary of War and Chief of Naval Operations; ''that'' lovely duty goes to Eloise Pritchart, Theisman's fellow conspirator and firm believer in the old Republic and the Constitution]].
* ''Literature/TheHeroesOfOlympus'': None of the major demigods have any sort of family to go back to, unless it's a sibling. The only exceptions are Percy, Piper, and Annabeth, and even the latter two don't have the best relationship with their muggle parent - Annabeth [[TheRunaway ran away]] from her father and stepmom while Piper's father is [[ParentalNeglect neglectful]], although he tries his best. Percy's the only one with GoodParents to return to.
* Of the four main characters in the ''Literature/CircleOfMagic'' books, three are orphans. Briar grows up in a street gang, Sandry is sent to live with her uncle after her parents die, and Daja becomes an orphan at the start of the series and goes straight to the Temples. It's in a medieval-ish society, so they could have been taken on as apprentices around that age anyway, but instead form something of a magical SuperFamilyTeam. Tris Chandler, the only one who actually does have biological relatives, is an emotional orphan, if not a physical one. Her parents didn't want her because of the destructive power of her untrained magic, and by the time she comes to the Temples, she's spent years being dumped on various relatives who either didn't want to take care of her or who treated her as an unpaid servant. [[spoiler:And the one relative whom she likes ends up trying to kill her.]]
* In ''[[Literature/{{Newsflesh}} How Green This Land, How Blue This Sea]]'', Mahir is told that only those with no living close relatives who are not in committed relationships are eligible to work in a particular research center. This was why [[AmicableExes Rey and Olivia]] broke up, so that he could pursue that career opportunity.
* Mr Benedict from ''Literature/TheMysteriousBenedictSociety'' requires children who are all alone in order to [[KidHero help his cause]]. Kate considers herself an orphan, though technically [[ParentalAbandonment her father is a deadbeat]], and both Constance and Reynie are orphans. Sticky is a [[TheRunaway runaway]] though.
-->'''Mr Benedict''': For one thing, children without guardians happen to be in a peculiar kind of danger that other children are not -- this I shall explain later, to those of you who join the team. For another, it would be simply impossible for me to put at risk any child who ''wasn't'' alone. No matter how important the cause, parents are disinclined to send their children into danger, as well they should be. As it so happens, however, I now find myself in the presence of the best team of children I could ever hope for -- indeed, have long hoped for -- and with not a minute to lose. In other words, you are our last possible hope. You are our ''only'' hope.
* ''Literature/WhereIdLikeToBe'' subverts this trope. Most of the characters {{foster kid}}s living in the East Tennessee Children's Home. Upon arriving at the Home, new girl Murphy calls them "a bunch of orphans" and Maddie tells her no, that's not really the case.
-->'''Murphy''': I can't believe I ended up here, stuck in with a bunch of orphans.\\
'''Maddie''': I don't think very many people here are orphans. Most people have at least one parent somewhere.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/{{Bones}}'': Dr. Brennan's emotional interface may be glitchy, but any one she deals with who comments on her inability to sympathize gets slammed when they find out she lost her parents at a young age, conveniently explaining why she might come off disturbed but assuring everyone that she understands.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** Companions in the classic series are often orphans - sometimes with DeathByOriginStory, or else have ParentalAbandonment. Companions in the new series have parents. Oh man, [[MyBelovedSmother do they have parents]].
** Now the Doctor himself is basically orphaned after the [[DeathByOriginStory Time War]], providing buckets of angst.
** Amy Pond has an aunt, but is essentially a orphan. [[spoiler: At least up until "The Big Bang", when it turns out her parents got [[RetGone erased from time]], and the Doctor uses the ResetButton to bring them back.]]
* ''Series/{{Revenge}}'' is centered around this trope. Amanda/Emily's whole purpose is to avenge her father, who was framed for aiding terrorists and later died; her mother passed away when she was a small child.
* The three protagonists of ''Series/RiminiRiddle'' live with their Aunt Vera after the deaths of their parents.
* In ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'', Dean and Sam become hunters after their [[YouKilledMyFather mother dies]], and the series starts with their [[DisappearedDad father]] missing forcing them to [[TakingUpTheMantle take up the mantle]]. [[spoiler: They become ''bona fide'' orphans at the start of season two.]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* This is about as frequent as YouAllMeetInAnInn in this medium. In any given party, someone probably has this as his or her backstory.
* Demotivational posters refer to parents as "DM Hostages".

* Thanks to the well-known habit of ''Theatre/ThePiratesOfPenzance'' to [[HonorBeforeReason always show mercy to orphans]], everyone they capture claims this trope applies to them whether it's true or not.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/DragonsWake'' the player takes on the role of a baby dragon who hatches from his egg only to find that his parents have already been killed.
* A ''[[ParentalAbandonment really]]'' common occurrence in ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'':
** The heroes of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyII'' are orphaned when their hometown is invaded by TheEmpire just prior to the story beginning. [[spoiler:Josef's daughter Nelly sadly ends up joining them in that camp.]]
** In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIII'', all the main characters are orphans, although three had been adopted and one was working for the king by the time the game begins.
** Most of the main characters are orphans in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII'' as well, with the exception of Rinoa who was a RebelliousPrincess. Most side characters were as well as [=SeeD=] specifically recruit from orphanages, because that is what Gardens started off as. TykeBomb gone into a full blown army.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIV'': Cecil and Kain were orphaned and taken in by King Baron, and Rydia becomes an orphan in-game. Edge orphans himself, killing his parents after they become chimaera. Polom and Porom are raised by Mysidia's elder and may or may not be orphans.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyV'' has the IdiotHero being an orphan at the game's beginning, the {{rebellious princess}}es losing their father halfway through the game and the SixthRanger being a replacement for her dead grandpa, who was also her last relative. It's more done as a party of the game's theme of legacy than a plot ticket, though.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI'' has Terra, Edgar, and Sabin explicitly stated as orphans as part of the plot. Gau is essentially an orphan. Relm may or may not be an orphan [[spoiler: depending on whether you save Shadow]], but it's at least DisappearedDad. The rest of the cast never mention their families, including Cyan who does have a dead wife and child that feature in the plot but never mentions his parentage.
** Cloud from ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'', due to Sephiroth killing his mother during his raid on Nibelheim. His father is never mentioned.
*** And Aerith (though she was raised by Elmyra for fifteen years), Tifa, Marlene (raised by Barret), Red XIII...
** Zidane in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIX''. Truth be told, [[spoiler:he's revealed never to have had parents at all]].
*** Eiko as well, [[spoiler:though she actually gains parents by the end of the game]].
** In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX'', Tidus, Yuna, Seymour, Wakka, and Lulu are all missing both parents [[spoiler:well... a case could be made for Tidus, but that's different]]. Kimahri's family disowned him, Rikku's mother is dead, and we never hear anything about Auron's parents. Only two of the main characters have siblings, and one of them is dead. Probably justified to demonstrate that Sin has touched everyone's lives.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXI'' has [[spoiler: Lion]], Prishe, Aphmau, and Lilith. (Although the last one is trying to avert the trope through TimeTravel.) Can we get Square into a 12-step program to deal with their addiction to this trope?
** Both Vaan and Penelo from ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXII''
*** Ditto with {{Ascended Extra}}s Kytes and Filo from the sequel ''[[VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIIRevenantWings Revenant Wings]]''.
*** Ashe's father (her mother is never seen/mentioned) is killed in the opening movie. [[spoiler:Vayne orphans himself and Larsa when he orders their father to be murdered.]] Basch and his sibling are orphaned during the attack on their homeland. Your party fights and kills [[spoiler:Balthier's father]] during the course of the game, orphaning him as his mother was already long dead.
** Lightning, Serah, and Snow in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII''. Presumably Fang and Vanille as well, since they [[spoiler:were in crystal stasis for several hundred years]]. Only Hope is the exception, and both his parents are seen during the course of the game, though his mother dies less than an hour in. Though this is averted with the BigBad. [[spoiler: It's unclear if, as a {{Mechanical Lifeform|s}}, it really has parents, but the game is fond of related symbolism in regards to it, and at the very least it was abandoned by the gods who created it. Unlike the heroes, it took the [[OrphansOrdeal trauma]] of this situation rather badly. [[SuicidalCosmicTemperTantrum very badly]] actually.]] Unfortunately the heroes never [[NotSoDifferent discuss this]].
** Rafa and Malak in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTactics''.
** The PlayerCharacter in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyCrystalChroniclesEchoesOfTime''. S/he was found as a baby in the woods one day and raised by Sherlotta and the village. How and why s/he came to be there in the first place is neither explained nor relevant.
* Dart from ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfDragoon'', in addition to the DoomedHometown at the beginning of the game.
* [[Franchise/{{Metroid}} Samus Aran]] was orphaned and raised by Chozo, who have since [[AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence withdrawn from the universe]], leaving Samus with no familial ties.
* ''VideoGame/PokemonBlackAndWhite'' reveals near the end of the game that [[AntiVillain N]] was orphaned as a child and was [[RaisedByWolves raised by feral Pokémon]] until [[ParentalSubstitute Ghetsis]] came along.
* ''VideoGame/DisgaeaHourOfDarkness'': Laharl and Etna are orphans. [[spoiler:At least, Laharl ''thinks'' he's one.]]
* ''Franchise/ResidentEvil'' has a cast that either consists of this or of characters with one parent. Barry Burton himself subverts this; ''he's'' a married parent with two daughters, and canonically, he survives the events of [[VideoGame/ResidentEvil1 the first game]]. How Chris, Claire, and Leon lost their folks is [[AllThereInTheManual put out there in guidebooks and novels]], and it's implied that Jill is also this (something is amiss with her father). Sherry loses ''both'' of her parents during the events of ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil2'' (her mother is shot and her father [[OneWingedAngel transforms into a tooth-covered, virus-riddled abomination]] and is eventually put down), and Steve Burnside loses his father to the T-Virus during ''Code Veronica.'' There's also [[VideoGame/ResidentEvil6 Jake Muller]] - his mother died of an illness, [[spoiler:and his father turns out to be the recently-killed-during-''VideoGame/ResidentEvil5''-Albert Wesker]].
* As is Cornet, the main character of ''VideoGame/RhapsodyAMusicalAdventure''. She lives with her grandfather. [[spoiler: If you've played Disgaea, you'll probably see the twist coming.]]
* ''VideoGame/LaPucelle'': Prier, Aloutte and Coulette are orphans.
* ''VideoGame/PhantomBrave'': Marona and Ash become orphans in the introduction.
* ''VideoGame/SoulNomadAndTheWorldEaters'': Revya and Danette are orphans.
* ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda's'' Link is often an orphan. Zelda might also count in some of the games. She definitely counts in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker'', where her figurine clearly spells it out and an NPC early in the game mentions that her mother died.
* ''VideoGame/FireEmblem''
** The series as a rule enjoys making their main characters an orphan at some point in the game. Their mothers are rarely mentioned but when they are, they're dead. Their fathers will die at some point in the story for some reason. The sole exception to this so-far is Eliwood, Roy's father in The Sword of Seals who lives throughout the game but is severely bed ridden. On the other hand, both Roy's and Lilina's mothers passed away before the game starts, and [[spoiler:Lilina loses her father Hector early on, playing this trope straight in her case]]. The prequel, ''[[VideoGame/FireEmblemElibe Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword]]'', viciously delights in killing off family. It's gotten to the point that if a character has a parent/sibling/uncle that loves them, nine out of ten times they're dead before the game is up, if not killed before it. [[spoiler:Lyn's parents were both killed by bandits, Hector's parents and brother die of disease, Eliwood's dad is killed by Nergal, Raven's parents committed suicide when their house was attacked, Lucius's father was killed and his mother died of sickness, Serra's parents abandoned her, Erk's are absent, both Jaffar and Nino have dead parents, Lowen probably takes the cake though, having lost first his parents, then his grandparents in fairly quick succession.]]
** The worst part of Nino's family situation: [[spoiler:Her adopted family are all bosses late in the game. The worst part of it is, they're not bad guys at all, and some of the conversations if you force Nino to attack them are pretty heart wrenching. Worse still, their dead bodies are reanimated in the last level, which means she has to kill them TWICE]].
*** What about the other part? [[spoiler:When she faces off against Sonia, the woman she thought of as her mother her entire life and who she only wanted to please, the bitch is quite happy to tell Nino how she slaughtered the girl's real parents for their knowledge on dragons and Nino's real mother died shielding her. Oh, and the only reason Sonia didn't kill Nino as well is because she figured Nino might be useful later.]]
** Pretty much every character in Genealogy of Holy War due to [[spoiler:the entire playable cast save Fin being wiped out half way through the game leaving their orphaned children to continue the fight seventeen years later]]. Many other enemies are also orphaned by the player and are out for revenge.
* A recurring element in the VideoGame/TalesSeries:
** In ''VideoGame/TalesOfPhantasia'', several party members including the leads Cress and Mint are orphaned very early in the game, several because [[spoiler:their parents were a previous generation of heroes who sealed away Dhaos, and who are being targeted for the keys they hold]].
** In ''VideoGame/TalesOfVesperia'', everyone in your entire party is an orphan. With most of them, all we get is either the parent left or the parent died, or both, no further explanation. We only find out how one parent died, although it's implied (very ''very'' subtly) that several of the mothers died in childbirth. In all honesty, it feels a little ridiculous at times.
** Sorey in ''VideoGame/TalesOfZestiria'', as he was a human raised by seraphs, which was what gave him a strong enough resonance to be the Shepherd. The seraph party members never had family, as spirits born from sites of natural power [[spoiler:except Mikleo, who as a baby died in the same event that orphaned Sorey but immediately reincarnated as a seraph and raised alongside Sorey. His mother's technically still alive but in no position to have raised him]].
** Exactly what orphaned Velvet, Laphicet, and Celica Crowe before ''VideoGame/TalesOfBerseria'' is not fully explained, but can probably be blamed on the daemons that plague the world. The rest of Velvet's family is eventually stripped away as well. Other human party members Magilou and Eleanor are orphaned as well, also to be blamed on the daemons. Rokurou isn't orphaned, his family just comes from extremely far away [[spoiler:but he's hinted to have to become a SelfMadeOrphan to succeed the head of his family someday]]. As with the seraphs in ''Zestiria'', the malakhs are spirits born spontaneously from the world [[spoiler:or reincarnated from those who die in specific circumstances]].
* ''VideoGame/SkiesOfArcadia'': surprisingly, not the hero, but both other core members of your party. Aika is established early on to be an orphan, and Fina... well, there's no other Silvites left but some Elders, and [[TheDragon Ramirez]].
* In ''VideoGame/BatenKaitos'', Kalas has no parents, although he makes mention to being raised by his grandfather, and to having a brother. [[spoiler:He's an ArtificialHuman, and his grandfather actually created him.]] The prequel, surprisingly, averts this: Sagi's implied to be the only biological child of the woman who runs his town's orphanage, and Milly's dad is [[spoiler:one of the villains]]. Also played with: One of the boss fights culminates in YOU orphaning one of the original game's party members.
* In ''VideoGame/GoldenSun'', the trope is very much zig-zagged for the main cast.
** Isaac's father and Jenna's parents and brother are killed off right in the intro. Then it quickly turns out that the brother survived and seems to be an enemy. Then in the second game, [[spoiler:it turns out the trope is completely subverted: the parents and Isaac's dad also survived and were made hostages, and saving them is a big motivator to the quest. So the kids are not actually orphans... then [[SelfMadeOrphan they accidentally almost kill their own parents themselves]] near the end of the game]]. Poor Isaac's mother has to almost force her son to keep going on his quest and is a source of worry, as she falls gravely ill in his absence.
** Ivan is an orphan and his adoptive father is kidnapped as you meet him, but the trope is toyed with: you're told that you can't do anything about it and you should just leave the father behind, but Ivan worries a lot, and you get an optional sidequest to free his father and ease his mind; and in the second game [[spoiler:Ivan's mysterious parentage is a plot point]].
** Sheba is also an adopted orphan and joins the group because ''she'' was kidnapped, but she's an inversion of the trope: in the second game, she refuses to drop by her hometown because her worried adoptive family would force her to stay.
** Piers is a straight and extreme example: he spends the first half of the game trying to go home, then when he finally does, he learns that his mother just died and he quickly gets exiled.
** Mia would be a straight example, having simply no mentioned family at all... but she is the one character who is sad to leave (she says farewell to her two young apprentices) and it's more a case of "conveniently rid of her town-healer duties".
** And Garet is a complete aversion: he's the only cast member who has a large, living and functional family, but they all encourage him to save the world and fatherless Isaac gets more angst; then in the ''epilogue cutscene'' of the second game [[spoiler:Garet comes home, finds the town destroyed, and thinks for a moment that they all died]].
** The first four heroes of ''VideoGame/GoldenSunDarkDawn'' all have at least one parent still alive and caring for them-- the previous games' heroes ([[GenerationXerox whom the kids strongly resemble]]). However, the second set of heroes include two straight examples (Sveta, whose parents died in Morgal's revolutionary war, and [[spoiler: Eoleo when [[SacrificialLion his father dies onscreen]]]]), a subversion (Amiti, who doesn't have parents but lives with his affectionate and overprotective uncle, who tries to forbid him from heroics), and an aversion (Himi's parents aren't happy to see her going into danger, but they have to let her because she's the only one who knows what needs to be done any more).
* In ''Franchise/MetalGear'', the circumstances which led to Otacon being an orphan are a significant aspect of his [[TheWoobie woobie status]].
* In the ''Franchise/DragonAge'' series:
** Averted to a certain degree for some of the Origins in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins''. Regardless of background, the player character does have either relatives or unrelated persons who fill that role in their lives, and not all of them die in the prologue. For practical purposes, though, it still amounts to the same thing. Played straight with some of your companions (Leliana, Zevran, etc.), and in Alistair's case, it's even a plot point. Also parodied in the elven Alienage, where the number of "orphans" is directly proportional to the amount of money you're giving the beggars.
-->'''Orphan Ollie''': My mother is ''especially'' dead!
** In ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'', Hawke's father Malcolm passed away long before the events of the game, but his/her mother Leandra is alive and well and accompanies the family to Kirkwall, living with Hawke. [[spoiler:And ''then'' [[TearJerker this trope kicks]] [[WhamEpisode in full-force]].]] The others tend to mention their parents in passing. Anders had a good mother who gave him a pillow, before he was taken to the Circle; this is passed on to Varric as a keepsake during Act 3. [[AbusiveParents Isabela had a terrible mother, who sold her to a slaver in a very bad marriage]]. Fenris remembers having a mother (eventually), but her fate is unclear. Merrill's parents are never mentioned. Varric spent his childhood caring for his alcoholic mother, whom he really only mentions once when he's talking about [[CainAndAbel Bartrand]]. [[spoiler:When Hawke is mourning his/her mother, [[CrowningMomentofHeartwarming Aveline tells him/her about her own father's death to comfort him/her]].]]
* [[MultipleChoicePast Two of the three options]] in ''Franchise/MassEffect'' for Shepard. With the spacer background, Shepard's mother is not only alive and well, but also helps [[GenderNeutralWriting him/her]] out during one of the optional sidequests in ''VideoGame/MassEffect1''. They have another conversation in the "Citadel" DLC for ''VideoGame/MassEffect3''.
* Implied to be the case with the eponymous characters of the ''Franchise/JakAndDaxter'' series. They get flung forward in time in the sequel, and don't have any problem staying around. The orphan thing is explored/confirmed for [[TheHero Jak]], but is still only an implication for Daxter, though [[{{Fanon}} no one is saying otherwise]].
* Ratchet of ''Franchise/RatchetAndClank'' believes he is the only Lombax left in the universe. Although [[spoiler:this is proven wrong when Alister Azimuth, another Lombax, appears]] in ''VideoGame/RatchetAndClankFutureACrackInTime'', Ratchet is forced to [[spoiler: kill Azimuth at the end, leaving him alone once again]].
* All over the place in ''VideoGame/{{Persona 3}}''; [[TheHero the protagonist]], [[BigManOnCampus Akihiko]], and [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold Shinjiro]] are orphans. [[TroublingUnchildlikeBehavior Ken]] is probably an orphan (dead mother, no mention of father but is being supported by a distant cousin). All three members of Strega are likely orphans ([[spoiler:Jin mentions that they, and other artificial Persona-users were all found on the streets as children]]). [[TheResenter Yukari]]'s father is dead, and her mother a hot mess incapable of being any kind of real parent. [[{{Ojou}} Mitsuru]]'s mother only appears in a CD drama, and [[spoiler:her father is killed late in the game]]. [[SadClown Junpei]] only has a father. Only [[MissionControl Fuuka]] has two living parents, and she's estranged from them. Even [[TeamPet Koromaru]], a dog, has lost his own master. If nothing else, it makes fighting Shadows easier for them.
** The parental situation of ''{{VideoGame/Persona 4}}'' is far better, with the only real orphan being [[SweetPollyOliver Naoto]], and even then, she had been raised by her grandfather the entire time. [[RealMenWearPink Kanji]]'s father is explicitly stated to be dead, but he still has his mother, [[TokenNonHuman Teddie]] is [[spoiler:a Shadow]], and [[TheHero Yu]]'s parents travel abroad frequently. Everyone else in the party is from a completely intact family.
** The tone of the game may help. ''Persona 3'' is darker than ''Persona 4'' and most of the time, the abandonment is ether a direct or indirect result of the Krijo group's experimentation on the Shadows, with the other two members having parents that made it personally preferable to live in the dorm.
** The two earlier games do not really feature this, with the only cases of [[ParentalAbandonment parental loss]] both being from ''{{VideoGame/Persona 2}}'': Maya's father, a war journalist, died on the field, and [[spoiler:Jun's father died from being thrown in a clock tower, and the BigBad masquerades as him]]. Tatsuya and Katsuya Suou's parents are an ambiguous case, as their [[MissingMom mother is completely missing]] and their father is only confirmed as having retired in disgrace in ''Eternal Punishment'' - which had a stronger theme of corrupt and fallen authority/parental figures versus ''Innocent Sin'''s bevy of missing, useless, and ''dead'' authority/parental figures, making the earlier game's (and alternate timeline's) silence about their father more ominous.
* In ''VideoGame/NeverwinterNights2'', your mother died when you were a baby, during [[spoiler:Ammon Jerro's duel with the [[BigBad King of Shadows]]]]. Your father is a complete question mark, [[TheyWastedAPerfectlyGoodPlot a point that might have made an excellent sidequest]].
* Of the seven party members in ''VideoGame/{{Xenoblade}}'', only one of them has a living parent, five are stated to be orphans, and the last's parents are never mentioned. [[spoiler: The orphan total becomes six later thanks to the parent performing a HeroicSacrifice.]]
* Good thing that Taiga and Mia don't have any parents in ''VideoGame/DuelSaviorDestiny'' or else their family might be a little concerned when they get whisked off to another world and put into the special forces. In fact, nobody else seems to have any family either apart from Lily's adoptive mother.
* No matter which class you elect to play in ''VideoGame/{{Darkstone}}'', you are an orphan. When speaking to the guards at the gate of your hometown, one will always comment that they haven't seen you since your parents were killed.
* The protagonist of ''VideoGame/BaldursGate'' is raised by Gorion the sage, and at the start of the game does not know who his/her real parents were. [[spoiler:It turns out that both are dead, and that the PC's father was the deity of murder, Bhaal. The trope is subverted, since the latter part of the game, and the sequel, are about the consequences of Bhaal's attempts to avoid his coming death - which among other things resulted in the PC's birth and special heritage.]]
* Ryu from ''Franchise/StreetFighter'' is an orphan who was raised by Gouken, his master.
* Taki from the ''VideoGame/SoulSeries'' had her immediate family die of sickness, leaving her to be raised by the [[HiddenElfVillage Fu-Ma Ninja Clan]].
* Deconstructed in ''VideoGame/{{Drakengard}}'', as the brutal deaths of Caim's parents have left him an intensely vengeful and violent NominalHero.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* The main character in FindChaos[[http://www.findchaos.com]] Arthur and his sister Tristan are both orphans by Arthur's doing (possible accident?).
* The protagonist in ''WebComic/HolidayWars'' is one, which can be seen [[http://www.holiday-wars.com/blog/2010/07/26/episode-11/ in this episode.]]
%%* Characters from ''Webcomic/GoldCoinComics'', such as Lance and Theo.
* Jordan from ''Webcomic/{{Skins}}''. Apparently there's been no mention of her family at all - the supernatural agency called the Coven took her in as a child.
* "Onion Kid" alias "Rex" alias [[spoiler: "Sarda"]] from ''Webcomic/EightBitTheater'' was orphaned so often, that he's stopped looking for foster parents or even an orphanage who'd still take him in. This trauma is actually the cause for everything that happened in the comic to begin with, thanks to a StableTimeLoop.
* Hanna of ''Webcomic/HannaIsNotABoysName'' never mentions his family, but it's implied that he has no immediate relatives in the city.
* ''Webcomic/TheDreamlandChronicles'': [[http://www.thedreamlandchronicles.com/the-dreamland-chronicles/chapter-05/page-284/ Felicity lightly mentions that she was orphaned.]]
* Jade Harley from ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'', who was raised by her pet dog after her grandfather died. [[spoiler: Technically speaking, John is an orphan too: both his and Jade's biological parents are long dead. He is raised by his 'father', who is technically his half-brother. Oh, and his and Jade's biological parents are John's grandmother and Jade's grandfather. [[MindScrew Confused yet?]]]]
** And as of [[spoiler: 2/19, all of the kids are orphans in both the traditional and technical sense. [[FunnyAneurysmMoment Damn]]]].
** Troll society is entirely like this, as the adults go off to conquer the universe while they leave the planet in the hands of the youth for the most part, leaving them to be RaisedByWolves. At least until events cause all of said Wolves to die, but they remained as their sprites. [[spoiler: Until Jack Noir killed them all over again.]]
** In the Alpha universe, [[spoiler: Roxy and Dirk]]. Even more so once it's revealed [[spoiler:that the two of them exist on Earth 400 years in the future, and their parents have been dead for centuries and left caches of food and supplies for them]].
* Most of the cast in ''Webcomic/DubiousCompany''. Sal is the only character firmly established as having living relatives.
** The Sues were adopted by [[TheDragon Izor]] after their family was [[DeathByOriginStory killed by a series of random fires]].
** [[HypercompetentSidekick Gary Stu]] appears to have taken the [[PromotionToParent parental role]] for his brother.
** Walter, Tiren, and Elly have fond childhood memories, but appear to no longer have ties to their families. [[HomelessHero They]] were visibly distraught when Sal asked if they had a home.
* Grunn's orphanage is one of the settings in ''Webcomic/{{Dreamkeepers}}''. The "convenient" aspect of the trope is played with in that the orphans are one big dysfunctional family, and several of them are important contributors to the plot.
* This was why Rita was allowed to be Dana's Wonderita in ''WebComic/TheNonAdventuresOfWonderella'': she had no next of kin to even tell her that being a sidekick was a dumb idea. [[spoiler: One strip, however, hints that Dana herself might be Rita's biological mother.]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In ''Literature/BabeRuthManTankGladiator'', Babe Ruth lost his parents in the Boobquakes, and lived at the Saint D'Clause School for Little Bastards.[[note]]In real life, Ruth's father sent him to St. Mary's Industrial School for Boys, a reformatory and orphanage at the age of 7.[[/note]]
* In ''Roleplay/TheGamersAlliance'', quite a few characters have ended up as orphans after their parents' demise.
* In the Literature/WhateleyUniverse, Bladedancer's mother is long dead, and her father dies at the hands of a demon in her origin story. Part of her story is her quest to one day rescue her father's soul from that demon.
* Tobiah, the narrator of ''Literature/TheGraystoneSaga'', was orphaned some years prior to meeting Lady Gray. He doesn't talk about his parents much, since they're not important to the story and he doesn't remember them very well anyway.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Ronaldo from the Brazil episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons''. Conveniently as an orphan, he doesn't have parents hogging his money he gets from performing on ''Teleboobies'', and he assists the Simpsons in paying Homer's ransom.
* Sinedd of ''WesternAnimation/GalactikFootball'' is able to run off and join The Shadows despite a large song and dance being made in the very same episode about the need for parental permission. His departure isn't justified with this trope for another 18 episodes. Orphan or not, Sinedd was already of age, making the parental permission unnecessary for him.
* Likely a requirement to be part of the ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'', because what sort of parents would let their children put their lives on the line in weekly superheroics? And sure enough, the only living parent to any of the Titans ever seen in the series is not a very [[{{Satan}} nice guy]].
** Cyborg's father is (presumably) alive. In the comics he was the one who made him a... well, [[ShapedLikeItself Cyborg]].
** We also get to meet Beast Boy's (adoptive) parents, Elasti-Girl is pretty nice, but Mento is bit of a jerk.
** In ''ComicBook/TeenTitansGo'' Raven's mother is alive after [[spoiler:Trigon's defeat]].
** Robin's parents are dead as always, but this incarnation heavily implies that he even ditched his "father" Franchise/{{Batman}} so he could move on. (And ended up gathering a bunch of friends around him instead, but no adults. The closest thing to a parent he has is [[BigBad Slade]] purring about what a great apprentice he could be...)
** We don't see Starfire's parents, either. The closest one she has to a family adult figure is her uncle, which is good since her only other family is [[SiblingYinYang her sister, Blackfire...]]
* Buck and Larry 3000 of ''WesternAnimation/TimeSquad'' needed Otto from the 20th century since he knows more history than they do. Since he's an orphan that was in a rather troubling situation when they found him, they adopted him despite the fact that it's forbidden by the Time Squad.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Advertisements for the Pony Express purportedly mentioned that they preferred their hires to be orphans, though original copies of these advertisements have not been discovered. Presumably a lot of dangerous occupations would prefer to have as few grieving parents as possible.